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KDE 4.3 Looking Good

I just installed KDE 4.3 and it's looking good. Some features returned that I was missing. You can now once again display applications by name rather than description in the K-menu. You can now enable a nice kcontrol-like tree-view in the System Settings.

Some things are still missing though... like different wallpapers on different desktops. There are "Activities" which can have different wallpapers, but I can't for the life of me figure out how I'm supposed to be using them. I also lag and/or crash every time I Zoom Out in the cashew, possibly thanks to 3840x1200 screen resolution. I'm going to assume Activities are still a work-in-progress.

I was horrified to open Kopete and see that configuring the contact list window now uses the same completely broken configuration dialog that Amarok 2 uses for their playlist. Oh how I hope someone rethinks this.

There's a new Qt and Plasma theme in KDE 4.3 that looks pretty nice. Overall every release of KDE4 seems to become more stable, more polished, more eye-candy (if you want it).

July 25, 2009 @ 12:48 PM PDT
Cateogory: Linux
Tags: KDE, Linux

17 Comments

wintermute
Quoth wintermute on July 25, 2009 @ 2:26 PM PDT

I'm running KDE 4.3 RC3 (4.2.98 in the kde-testing overlay) & am able to have different wallpapers on different desktops. Are you sure you didn't just miss the option?

Brian
Quoth Brian on July 25, 2009 @ 2:48 PM PDT

Where do you see the option? I have KDE 4.2.98 RC3 also. I don't see anything there when I right click the desktop, Desktop Settings. I have "Desktop Activity" and a place to name the activity, then a plasma theme dropdown, then some Wallpaper options but these affect all desktops.

wintermute
Quoth wintermute on July 25, 2009 @ 3:13 PM PDT

When I right click while in a particular monitor and go to Desktop Settings, I'm able to configure the settings (including the wallpaper) for just that monitor.

Also, how are you configuring your multi-monitor setup? Since I'm using a laptop that is often disconnected from my external monitor, I manually run XRandR when I'm at home, rather than using xorg.conf.

Brian
Quoth Brian on July 25, 2009 @ 3:35 PM PDT

Oh, I can set it per physical monitor. What I want is to set it per virtual desktop.

I've always used TwinView for dual monitors. Never had any problems with it.

dum8d0g
Quoth dum8d0g on July 25, 2009 @ 3:35 PM PDT

I am wondering about your experiences with another user interfaces. Have you been using some window manager? Floating, tiled, stacking or dynamic? What was your journey thru desktop enviroments and window managers? What do you think about all that possibilities of choice? Would you make a blogpost about your experiences?

wintermute
Quoth wintermute on July 25, 2009 @ 3:45 PM PDT

Oh, I can set it per physical monitor. What I want is to set it per virtual desktop.

Ah, my bad. I guess that's not supported yet. My guess is that the most obscure features of KDE 3.5 won't be supported in KDE 4 until 4.5 (though I have found 4.3 to be adequate for the most part).

The only thing that really bothers me now is the lack of "completeness" among significant 3rd party applications, such as Amarok and K3b.

Brian
Quoth Brian on July 25, 2009 @ 4:05 PM PDT

@dum8d0g Oh yikes, I've used almost everything at some point. I'll try to make a blog post.

Nathan
Quoth Nathan on July 25, 2009 @ 4:05 PM PDT

Per-workspace wallpapers are something I always envy in xfce. If you know any way to get them working let me know.

Matija "hook" ?uklje
Quoth Matija "hook" ?uklje on July 25, 2009 @ 9:05 PM PDT

I think what's planned is for activities to be able to be bound to a certain desktop. This way you could set a specific wallpaper to a specific activity and bind that activity to a specific desktop.

What activities are for is grouping (plasma) widgets together. I actually quite like the idea and find it useful. It needs some polish still though. But from what I can tell from the KDE Planet, it seems like polish is slowly being introduced :]

knef
Quoth knef on July 26, 2009 @ 3:03 AM PDT

Separate wallpapers (per virtual desktop) ARE supported on KDE 4.3.

Click on the "cashew" and choose "Zoom out" -> in the dialogue that pops up in the corner when zoomed out choose "Configure plasma" -> tick to select "Different activity for each desktop".

Now not only you can have different wallpapers per virtual desktops but also different widgets and, for example, you can configure one desktop to be standard and the other in "Folderview" mode, you can have an ordinary wallpaper on some desktops and "Globe" or "Virus" on others etc.

Brian
Quoth Brian on July 26, 2009 @ 4:27 AM PDT

@knef Cool, thanks. Clicking that option literally crashed X though. Hope they make the GUI for configuring activities a bit less heavyweight at some point.

zak89
Quoth zak89 on July 26, 2009 @ 6:33 AM PDT

@knef: Awesome! I've been waiting for that option for months (which may as well be centuries in FOSS time).

ryan
Quoth ryan on August 18, 2009 @ 10:59 AM PDT

just curious brian but why dont you use fvwm anymore?

Brian
Quoth Brian on August 20, 2009 @ 3:42 AM PDT

Many treasons...

  1. FVWM doesn't have the fancy compositing effects of KDE4 and Compiz etc.
  2. I don't have time for micro-managing my desktop any longer. I used to sink many hours into FVWM to get it to look right. Nowadays I spend more time using my computer rather than customizing it.
  3. The developer of FVWM is rather rude and unresponsive to patches.

The only thing FVWM has that I'd ever want right now is fine-tuning of window placement and focus policies, but KWin gets you pretty close even in that area. KWin is actually extremely powerful and customizable (and it's all via a GUI rather than the FVWM language, which is very arcane).

tanghus
Quoth tanghus on October 24, 2009 @ 9:06 AM PDT

@Brian: The so called ZUI (Zooming User Interface) is thankfully about to be radically changed or maybe even removed. I don't think that there currently is a consensus about whats going to happen with the "Virtual Desktops vs. Activities" issue but I hope and believe that it is going to be much more intuitive than the current state.

Brian
Quoth Brian on October 25, 2009 @ 12:24 PM PDT

@tanghus That'd be great. I'm running 4.3.2 right now and the "ZUI" is still very painful.

Lyle
Quoth Lyle on October 30, 2009 @ 1:42 AM PDT

I was anxiously awaiting the new System Tray rework and it hasnt changed an iota from 4.2.

The icons are still way too small for any person with bad eyesight and the system tray widget is as incomplete as it was before.

I thought with DBusSystemTray we'd have more control on teh system tray icons and its seems not.

This was my one big feature need and only the reason why I upgraded ASAP.

My wife asked me if I was kidding about upgrading to a newer version because she says it all looks the same to her.

I do find that 4.3 feels faster.

Thanks for the hint how to have multiple wallpapers. I would have never thought of looking there. (shouldnt this normally be under the wallpaper settings?)